Posts Tagged: Gene Miyao
At the end of June, the distinguished careers of five UC Cooperative Extension advisors concluded when they retired. The new retirees are
- Mark Gaskell, UCCE small farms advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties
- Gene Miyao, UCCE vegetable crops advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties
- Kim Rodrigues, director of the Hopland Research & Extension Center and UCCE forest advisor
- Blake Sanden, UCCE irrigation, soils and agronomy advisor in Kern County
- Steve Tjosvold, UCCE horticulture advisor for Santa Cruz and Monterey counties
Below are brief vignettes about each of the retirees.
UCCE small farms advisor Mark Gaskell retires
Gaskell, who began his career with the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources as an advisor for small farms and specialty crops in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in 1995, retired July 1.
“If it wasn't for Mark Gaskell, I wouldn't have lasted three years,” said Tony Chavez, who grows 40 acres of blueberries, blackberries and some raspberries in Nipomo.
Blueberries weren't grown in California until Gaskell planted test plots of southern highbush blueberries in 1996 to give small-scale growers a new crop option. What was once a niche crop is now planted on over 7,000 acres in the state and California currently leads U.S. production of fresh blueberries.
Recently Gaskell's knowledge of coffee production has been in demand.
“Personally, I would not be where I am today professionally without Mark's guidance, support and friendship,” said Jay Ruskey, CEO and co-founder of Good Land Organics. “He brought me my first coffee plants in 2002.”
With Gaskell's research-based advice, the Goleta grower has produced premium coffee. His Caturra coffee made Coffee Review's Top 30 coffees in 2014 and in 2017 Daily Coffee News reported that Blue Bottle was selling the California-grown coffee for $18 per ounce.
“Industry-wide, there are many farmers who have benefited directly from working with Mark, but there are far more farmers who are currently benefiting today from the specific crops and farming systems he has introduced through his service as a University of California farm advisor,” Ruskey said. (Author: Pam Kan-Rice)
Gene Miyao, UC Cooperative Extension vegetable crops advisor, retiring after 38 years
Miyao had been exposed to UCCE farm advisors from a young age.
“My parents were small-scale farmers in Yolo County. We knew of the value of UCCE and the UC system,” Miyao said.
During his 38-year-career, Miyao has witnessed dramatic changes in production systems of processing tomatoes, a crop on which he focused much of his efforts. Growers went from using open-pollinated seed to hybrids and they changed from direct seeding to transplants. Tomato production has seen a major reduction in Phytophthora root rot, and a rapid spread of Fusarium wilt race 2.
Over the years, Miyao has conducted significant research, including work to better understand the benefits of cover crops, supplemental applications of potassium and phosphorous, and applying composted chicken manure in tomato production. He cooperated with a team of advisors to demonstrate the value of sulfur dust for powdery mildew control and the risk of spreading the disease fusarium wilt from infested stem pieces. Miyao was an author of the recent cost production study titled Cost of producing processing tomatoes in the Sacramento Valley and Northern Delta with sub-surface and surface drip irrigation.
In all Miyao wrote 69 peer reviewed articles. However, he said, the local newsletters, field meetings and field calls were always his priority in order to stay well connected to his local clientele.
In retirement, Miyao said he will complete some of his 2018 field projects. He's also planning to travel with his wife Donna to national parks and other destinations. And he is looking forward to fishing in the local waters. (Author: Jeannette Warnert)
Kim Rodrigues, Hopland Research and Extension Center Director, retires after 27-year career with UC ANR
When she became regional director for the 23 counties in the North Coast and Mountain Region in 1999 and relocated her family to Davis from Eureka, she recounted that “it was July, and they went from cool, coastal fog to the Valley heat and wondered about my sanity!”
She later became the executive director of Academic Personnel for ANR when the regions were restructured and ANR was centralized.
She returned to county-based academic work at HREC in the summer of 2014. Initially there as an interim assignment, Rodrigues fell in love with the place and the people and accepted the formal assignment at HREC in 2015. She notes that working at HREC has been “an excellent culmination to my career. Working with colleagues on relevant research, such as living with wildlife, integrates the many professional roles I have had throughout my career.”
Noted as a competent and trusted forester, she has served on the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) briefly and on the BOF Professional Forester's Examining Committee for several years.
Rodrigues is also known for her collaborative leadership and facilitation skills and led the public participation team, together with Drs. Maggi Kelly and Lynn Huntsinger, for the long-term research titled the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project. She is recognized as an excellent facilitator for large-scale and smaller scale public meetings designed to share science with diverse public interest groups, agencies and decision-makers, in order to seek new solutions for resolving ongoing conflicts over public trust resources, such as water, wildlife and more.
Her passion is working with diverse groups to address complex environmental conflicts to seek shared understanding and new agreements. “It is amazing how diverse input can help frame innovative solutions that individuals or small groups may not readily identify,” she said.
She plans to remain engaged in research and extension related to living with wildlife, cumulative watershed effects and managing conflicts of all types. She is also looking forward to spending more time with her husband, four children and grandchild.
Although sad to leave many aspects of her work at UC ANR, she said, “I remain deeply grateful to UC ANR for such a wonderful career, and I remain committed to support UC ANR to succeed in any way I can going forward. I have been fortunate to work with amazing colleagues and truly respect the work we do for the land grant mission.” (Author: Liz Sizensky)
Blake Sanden, UCCE irrigation, soils and agronomy advisor in Kern County
He helped growers with on-farm soil and water problems, organized and spoke at workshops across California and conducted applied field research projects focusing on irrigation, salinity/fertility management for all crops, and agronomic field crop production of alfalfa, dry beans and oil crops.
Blake has a bachelor's degree in International agricultural development and agronomy and master's degree in irrigation and drainage from UC Davis and 35 years of experience in California production ag, international ag development and extension.
Significant projects of his include: development of salt tolerance thresholds for high production California pistachios in the San Joaquin Valley, soil moisture monitoring techniques and irrigation efficiency assessment on 12,000 acres in Kern County and deficit irrigation in early citrus navel oranges.
Over the last eight years, Sanden has fulfilled a vision that started nearly 30 years ago. Through collaboration with nearly 50 University of California researchers, farm advisors, extension specialists, the Wonderful Farming Company and almond industry representatives, he played a crucial role in documenting the increased level of water and fertilizer use necessary for optimal almond yield – increasing the statewide average yield by more than 50 percent.
But some of his greatest joys and heart-felt satisfaction lay in development work in Africa – 3 years of missionary service in the 1980s developing vegetable gardens in Zambia and month-long training/consulting trips working with farmers and extension agents in Uganda, Ethiopia and central Asia.
When asked what he'll miss the most about his career, he said the interaction with the growers, most notably “seeing the ‘ah-ha' light up in a grower's eyes when he finally grasps the solution.”
He remembered a particular time in May of 2004 when a sugarbeet grower called him seeking his advice on whether or not to irrigate his 380 acres of beets one last time before harvesting. That was the way he had always done it. So Sanden went out and spent a couple of hours using his hand probe to check the moisture of the fields down to a three-foot depth.
“I ask, ‘Ken, when did you last probe this field?'” Sanden recalled.
‘“Oh, I really didn't check it this year?' he says.”
“Do you really need to irrigate or is this enough water to get through harvest?” noting that he already had enough moisture.
“I guess it's enough, but that's why I asked you out here. It wouldn't hurt to put on the irrigation would it? I'd feel better. Of course we did get the digger stuck a couple times last year because the field was too wet.”
“Too much water does hurt beets because you will reduce sugar percentage and can get rot and lose tonnage,” Sanden replied.
“OK, it makes me a bit nervous but you say I have at least four inches of water stored in the soil that the beets can get at.”
That year Ken was the top sugar producer in Kern County and got the Silver Beet Knife for highest percentage of sugar, Blake recalled.
“With that two hours worth of field scouting he probably made an extra $300,000 in the saved irrigation and increased sugar,” Blake said. (Author: Tyler Ash)
Steve Tjosvold, UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor, 38 years
“I interned for two advisors and then separately filled in for the programs of two advisors that went on sabbatical leave,” Tjosvold said. “I use that experience, knowledge, contacts and friendships to this day.”
Tjosvold was named the environmental horticulture advisor in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties in 1983.
Tjosvold's early career focused on the management of nursery and landscape plant diseases and insect problems, as well as methods to improve water use and postharvest handling in nursery crops. In addition, Tjosvold helped establish the use of scouting in ornamental production by working with other farm advisors to document effectiveness statewide. Later, his research and outreach on sudden oak death and light brown apple moth helped growers understand the pests and take action to reduce their impact on production systems and the environment.
Tjosvold wrote or contributed to 94 peer-reviewed publications and 234 industry publications. He served as editor/co-editor of UCNFA (UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance) News.
During his career, Tjosvold received three distinguished service awards for outstanding teamwork (1997, 2004, and 2006) and one for outstanding extension (2004). He received the 2008 Western Extension Directors' Award of Excellence for a farm water quality planning project. In 2012 he received the outstanding research award from the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, and in 2015 he was honored with the Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association for a team effort that addresses Sudden Oak Death.
In retirement, Tjosvold plans to start a UCNFA blog to help replace the loss of the UCNFA newsletter due to retirements. He will also be available locally for focused educational projects and consultation. Tjosvold, an avid fly fisherman, said he will spend the first month of his retirement camping and fly fishing in Montana. (Author: Jeannette Warnert)
UC Cooperative Extension advisors retiring in 2018.
The analysis is based upon a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using practices common to the region. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.
The hypothetical 3,500-acre farm, focuses on production costs for growing transplanted processing tomatoes under subsurface drip irrigation on 60-inch beds in San Joaquin County and the lower Sacramento Valley.
The new study, “Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes, Sub-Surface Drip Irrigated (SDI) in the Sacramento Valley & Northern Delta – 2017,” and sample cost-of-production studies for many other commodities are available for free. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.
For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact the Agricultural Issues Center's Donald Stewart at (530) 752-4651 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Brenna Aegerter, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for San Joaquin County at email@example.com, or Gene Miyao, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost and returns program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center, which is part of UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
On a recent late-summer Wednesday, a freight container filled with cases of expired Muscle Milk protein drink awaited unloading at the UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) while a front-loader scooped heaps of spoiled vegetables into a mechanical processor. Nourished by a diet of assorted food waste from the UC Davis campus and area restaurants and markets, READ harnesses the activity of billions of microbes to produce biogas capable of generating 5.6 million kWh per year of clean electricity for UC Davis.
But a by-product of READ and other anaerobic digesters – the slurry of leftover solid and liquid material, or digestate – has caught the attention of UC Davis researchers interested in “closing the loop” on food production, consumption, and waste. When processed through an anaerobic digester, organic materials like food discards, expired or off-spec food products, or animal manure can be transformed into concentrated biofertilizers and soil amendments that are highly effective and easily applied to crops.
In an interdisciplinary collaboration at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility, funded by the California State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Davis faculty and students have developed a pilot-scale process for commercial production of several forms of this biofertilizer using digestate from READ and other nearby digesters. They are also evaluating their effects on yield and other agronomic metrics in corn and tomato field trials – paving the way for farmers and growers to take advantage of a highly sustainable source of plant nutrition.
The challenge and opportunity of fertilizer from anaerobic biodigesters
The digestate from READ and other digester facilities can be applied directly to soil as a fertilizer, but, because it has a limited shelf-life, it usually must be applied to land in the immediate region of the facility. With the input of food waste that can vary widely from day to day, a facility's digestate is inconsistent in texture and composition, making it difficult to transport and apply to fields using common farm fertilizer equipment.
Filtering and drying this digestate, however, results in solid and liquid forms that can be concentrated, homogenized, easily transported, and applied to soil through existing drip irrigation systems or surface spreading equipment.
This process could allow farmers and growers located further away, and working with common irrigation and fertilizer application equipment, to supplement or replace their synthetic fertilizer consumption with biofertilizers from food waste or animal manure.
How do biodigestate products measure up to synthetic fertilizers?
The research, co-led by professor Ruihong Zhang from the UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (who also designed READ in partnership with Sacramento-based tech company CleanWorld) and Professor Kate Scow from the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, developed pilot-scale systems to efficiently and consistently separate the solid and liquid portions of food- and manure-based digestates. The researchers then examined the nutrient composition of the solid and liquid biofertilizer products, finding that biodigestate-based fertilizers contain valuable nutrients and microbes not found in many synthetic fertilizers.
In current field trials, the researchers are investigating the effects of each of the biofertilizer products on crop yield and quality. Their preliminary results show that it is possible to grow irrigated processing tomatoes and short-season corn using biofertilizer products as the sole source of fertilizer. The origin of the fertilizer matters, however – manure-based liquid fertilizer formed additional large particles after the final filtration, creating concerns about clogging the drip irrigation system. The team thinks an environmentally benign chemical sometimes added to manure digesters to clean the biogas may be the culprit of the problem, but future research is needed. The solid biofertilizer pellets they developed show much promise, as they can be applied using existing methods for spreading compost and can be economically transported farther away from the digester.
In addition to better understanding the best processes for producing and using the biofertilizers, further research is needed to understand how much of the nitrogen in each of the fertilizer products is available for uptake by the crop, as well as economic analyses to determine the commercial-scale production and transportation costs. The researchers will be able to narrow in on the agronomic and economic potential of biofertilizers through the upcoming analysis of the yield of the corn and tomato experiment plots at Russell Ranch. The results of a tomato experiment recently showed that the digestate fertilizers produced just as much fruit as a popular synthetic fertilizer.
Interdisciplinary research for agricultural innovations
Russell Ranch, a program of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute, is designed as a shared space for interdisciplinary research and innovation. The biofertilizer research, among other active projects at Russell Ranch, is an example of the fulfillment of that intention. “The soil scientists are learning engineering, the engineers are learning biology, and the biologists are learning about soil,” Professor Zhang remarked.
The exchange also extends beyond the university: a recent UC Davis Biofertilizer Field Day drew attendees from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, several public agencies, the agricultural sector, other universities, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and food processors. If the research continues to illuminate a way forward for biofertilizers, these audiences may fill important roles in bringing this new technology into practice – and in recycling your lunch leftovers back into a more efficient and sustainable food system.
More information: UC Davis READ, Russell Ranch, and the biofertilizer research
The UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester was unveiled in 2014 as the nation's largest anaerobic biodigester on a college campus, and represented a unique private-public partnership. Professor Ruihong Zhang invented the anaerobic digestion technology used by CleanWorld, which developed it into one of the most advanced commercially-available digester systems in the country.
Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility is a “living laboratory” for interdisciplinary field research and innovation. Its flagship project, the Century Experiment, measures the long-term impacts of energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen inputs on agricultural sustainability in the flagship Century Experiment.
The biofertilizer research collaboration includes Zhang Lab graduate students Tyler Barzee and Hossein Edalati, Scow Lab postdoctoral researcher Daoyuan Wang, and Russell Ranch manager Israel Herrera. Collaborating institutions include CleanWorld, California Bioenergy, New Hope Dairy (Galt, CA), Fiscalini Dairy (Modesto, CA), and Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
This story en español.
The studies focus primarily on production costs in the counties of Yolo, Solano, Sacramento and San Joaquin. The two separate studies list estimated production costs for growing transplanted processing tomatoes under furrow irrigation and under sub-surface drip irrigation on 60-inch beds.
The major differences between the two companion studies are inputs related to irrigation and tillage and from yield outcome.
Each analysis is based upon a hypothetical farm operation using practices common to the region. Input and reviews were provided by growers, pest control advisers and other agricultural associates. Assumptions used to identify current costs for individual crops, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead are described. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.
These two studies –“Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes, Sub-Surface Drip Irrigated (SDI) in the Sacramento Valley & Northern Delta - 2014” and “Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes, Furrow Irrigated in the Sacramento Valley & Northern Delta - 2014” – and other sample cost of production studies for many commodities are available and can be downloaded from the Agriculture and Resource Economics Department website, http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Some archived studies are also available on the website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu/archived.php
For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the study contact Karen Klonsky, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis, at (530) 752-3589, email@example.com; or Don Stewart, staff research associate, (530) 752-4651, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The studies were prepared by Gene Miyao, UCCE advisor, Yolo and Solano Counties; Brenna Aegerter, UCCE advisor, San Joaquin County; Karen Klonsky and Don Stewart.
California's cool, wet spring is putting a damper on the state's agricultural industry, the Sacramento Bee reported today. Watermelon may not be ready for the Fourth of July, and tomato harvests likely will be delayed.
The problem for tomato growers has been persistently wet fields, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Gene Miyao told the newspaper.
"Under wet conditions, (planting) causes soil compactions. That affects root growth. Irrigation (water) doesn't infiltrate as well," Miyao was quoted. "I think it certainly is a concern."
Waiting for soil to dry means risking that rain will fall again before planting. Greenhouse growers can't move young-plant inventory to fields on schedule. And at harvest time, some growers must wait for processor capacity. Tomatoes may rot in the field or face exposure to insects while waiting, Miyao said.
Weekend temperatures were among the coldest in more than a half-century from Redding to Stockton, the Bee reported.
In addition, Bakersfield set a record Sunday when the mercury reached just 67 degrees, and wind advisories were in place over the weekend in the coastal areas of Los Angeles County and in the Antelope Valley, according to the National Weather Service. (As reported by the Bakersfield Californian and Los Angeles Times.)
Farmers can expect no relief in the next few days. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for the Sierra Nevada and predicts rain throughout California tomorrow.